When my daughter – a seventh-grader at Skinner- was in second grade, my wife Donna and I stepped up our “parent engagement.” We joined other parents in a time consuming, challenging but eventually successful effort to help a gifted principal turn-around Skinner Middle School. Skinner was then overlooked by too many of my neighbors, who sent their kids to private or charter schools – many across town.
Today there is a waiting list to enroll in Skinner. Today Skinner thrives because of strong school leadership, dedicated teachers, engaged parents and a curriculum and after school activities that meet the needs of its diverse students.
I believed then and I believe now that neighborhood schools bind our community together. School choice is great if everyone gets their first choice, otherwise the choice process is really a lottery of our children’s future. Some of our neighbors must rely on schools that are close to home, leaving these families without a good choice. We can and must do better.
I know first-hand that there is no quick fix to improve our neighborhood schools. It takes all of us rolling up our sleeves and working together to make sure all our children have the opportunity of a great education. And I’m confident that Denver’s taxpayers will be generous with our schools if they see the results.
I don’t have all the answers. That’s why we must work together for all our kids.
Thank you — I hope to earn your support.